Black Sea unveils new RTS

"Different to the bones".

Bulgarian developer Black Sea Studios has unveiled a new real-time strategy game for PC.

But despite the rather familiar-sounding introduction, WorldShift promises to be different. It's designed to offer fun from the outset - pick-up-and-play action without the bane of bible-thick manuals and Redwood-sized tech-trees to master.

"My feeling is that with a few exceptions we've been playing different re-incarnations of the very same RTS game for a decade!" Vesselin Handjiev, lead designer for WorldShift, told Eurogamer. "WorldShift is different not only on the surface, it's different to the bones."

The game is set thousands of years in the future after a virus wiped out nearly all traces of human civilisation. It's science-fiction, then, but Handjiev assures us it's a simple vision of the future - one without fiddly technology that's impossible to pronounce. Stumbling on the remains of the human world should be like uncovering a temple in an Indiana Jones film, he reckons.

You control a smaller group of units in a typical RTS fashion, a throng of around 30 to 50. These are split into different factions, and most, if not all, will be available from the start. Customisation will come from collecting items and relics (rather than through tech-tree upgrades), which can be placed into an Ability Grid to augment your squad's muscle.

Up to 15 can be slotted into various areas, and all are interchangeable to allow for better items or tactical alterations. Effects vary from a percentage chance to do more damage, or an upgrade to hit points - and Black Sea is keen to point out there's no best build, simply preference of play style.

It's all supposed to culminate in tighter adrenaline-fuelled skirmishes that rely on player skill and organisation of troops. Black Sea is also integrating co-operative play and community features that it feels have been desperately lacking in the genre.

"Overall, you can play against other players; you can follow the game story and complete missions; and here is something new: we are spending a lot of time on designing and implementing a solid number of co-operative multiplayer missions," continued Handjiev.

"I think co-operative challenges were a bit neglected in the past. Why is that so? They are a great source of fun and emotion."

It's yet to be given a release date, and the possibility of it appearing on other platforms wasn't something Black Sea could comment on.

More information can be eaten on the official website, or you can pop into our WorldShift gallery for the latest screenshots.

Our full interview with Vesseling Handjiev will appear in the coming days.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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